Measuring religious volunteering and donation behaviour in Australia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Religiosity potentially has a significant economic impact in Australia, but we do not currently have a good understanding of that impact. Research sponsored by the research project called ‘The Study for the Economic Impact of Religion on Society’ (SEIROS) has sought to capture, in part, the role religiosity plays in contributing to economic life in Australia by measuring how religious commitment enhances volunteering and donation behaviour. That research focuses on an individual’s commitment rather than their institutional engagement with religious organisations. Based on a survey of religious engagement, and building on the approach of Lyons and Nivison-Smith (2006), SEIROS engaged Deloitte Access Economics (DAE) to build a logistic regression model which captured a positive impact of religiosity on volunteering and giving, measured by comparing persons coming to faith in adult life against people who never identify as being religious. However, this article argues that the DAE study suffers from the limitation of measuring religiosity as a ‘treatment effect’ captured by conversion in adult life and excludes the cohort of persons who have been religious since youth. As a result, the impact of religious engagement on giving of time and money may be understated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-51
Number of pages20
JournalThird Sector Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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